Multi-Channel Turns Multi-Generational

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It’s news to no one that mobile devices are playing a growing role in the way consumers interact with advertisers. But it’s not just about a consumer seeing a mobile video ad before she watches David Letterman get an unexpected visit from “the late Harry Caray” (Will Ferrell, of course); or reading a native ad during her commute about the H&M dress debuted at the Met Gala; or seeing the pop-up ad on the tablet news app she’s reading with her morning coffee.

It’s about the connected combination of touchpoints across all her devices that meaningfully influence today’s consumer.

Cross-device behavior is often seen as being associated with Millennials. This young, tech-savvy demographic group of digital natives is known for using multiple platforms to connect with brands, research, and shop for products. But what may be surprising is that Millennials aren’t the only demographic driving omnichannel.

The Rise Of Multi-Platform Usage Across Demographics

Recent research from ComScore has found that, in fact, people of all different age demographics are becoming increasingly multi-platform. US consumers of all ages used an average of 3.3 devices last year. What’s more, the research finds that the demographic of people over age 55 is currently the fastest-growing segment of multi-platform users, increasing to 68 percent in 2014 from 57 percent in 2013.

Thus, the ComScore research shows that Gen X-ers exceeded Millennials in multi-platform usage year on year.

As a Gen X-er myself, I can attest to this first-hand. Although not a digital native like the Millennials, I, like many of my generation, use multiple digital channels in many parts of my daily life. For example, I use grocery delivery service Fresh Direct to buy my weekly groceries, adding items to my cart using the Fresh Direct mobile app during my commute, later completing the order on my laptop while catching up on work emails after dinner.

Additionally, I sync up my browser bookmarks and map my favorite spots in Google Maps, for seamless access to my favorites across all devices.

As further testament to my now requirement of seamless experiences across mobile and tablet and desktop, I rely on valuable apps like Lifecake, where I can add, edit and view photos across my iPad, phone and computer, sharing them with family.

These touch points across devices are so synced up that they create significant efficiency and effectiveness for me. They make my life easier.

With people of all ages adopting multiple devices at significant rates for ease and other reasons, we’re truly facing an era where marketing is less about generalizations around demographics, channels and platforms, and more about each consumer’s experience with the brand, and the journey that influences them.

Data Is Key

The central part of creating one-to-one customer journeys for your audiences, regardless of their demographics, is data. Having the right attribution tool that provides insight into which of your channels are driving consumers down the funnel, for journeys that lead to conversion and those that don’t, empowers you to create the right strategic marketing mix to optimize your campaigns for your key performance indicators — whether that’s awareness, new site visitors, conversions or retention.

Another way of using data to improve advertising relevance for your audience, without leaning on demographic assumptions, is combining your attribution data about the consumer journey with your customer relationship management (CRM) data.

For example, a fashion retailer wanting to promote its new shoe line can target new customers who are likely to buy by understanding the online activity of past shoe customers — which devices they use, where they go online, where they shop, which marketing touch points they respond to, when they buy, etc. — and finding other users with similar online activity.

Using that combined attribution and CRM data to optimize your cross-channel marketing with the right mix of touch points and messaging is a powerful way to drive strong marketing results — whether your audience is Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, or a mix of many generations.

As an advertiser, it’s important to see the bigger picture of how consumers are receiving and interacting with your brand. The advertisers who possess insights into how consumers interact with the brand as a whole are able to deliver the most relevant content, offers and products to those consumers, regardless of which channel they use.

With such a holistic view, everyone wins: the brand and consumer alike. With consumer demographics and habits constantly shifting, the time for advertisers to take an omni approach is now.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Liane Dietrich is Chief Operating Officer, and is responsible for the planning and execution of Rakuten LinkShare‘s vision to deliver world-class online marketing solutions. Since joining Rakuten LinkShare, now Rakuten Affiliate Network in 2003, Liane has contributed to the company’s success in the areas of service delivery, strategic direction and international expansion in her roles as Director, Vice President and Managing Director in Chicago, New York, and London.

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